Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez keeps dodging questions about her mayoral aspirations. But that’s not stopping her from participating in a mayoral candidate forum.
Chavez—who is rumored to run for San Jose mayor but has yet to officially announce—will take part in a candidate forum on Monday with downtown San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez, who officially declared his candidacy in April. The Silicon Valley Democratic Club will moderate the event.
With Mayor Sam Liccardo set to term out next year, Chavez is one of the rumored candidates to replace him. The county supervisor and longtime labor leader unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2006.
Chavez did not respond to numerous requests for comment.
The description of Monday’s forum seems to tiptoe around the announcement too: The group says the two progressives are invited “to discuss who should be the next mayor of the city of San Jose.”
“Supervisor Chavez has been much-discussed as a possible candidate for mayor, so we extended an invitation to join the discussion with our members,” Club President Jennie Hutchinson told San José Spotlight. “We are gratified she accepted our invitation and look forward to an exciting event.”
Like many San Jose politicos, Peralez is convinced Chavez will eventually launch a campaign, though he can’t confirm anything official. One insider fact he did share: Many of his endorsers also received calls from Chavez seeking their support.
“I know she’s doing some groundwork for a campaign,” Peralez told San José Spotlight. “She might not have announced yet, but I don’t know if this forum is more of a public statement.”
Councilmember Dev Davis made her announcement to run for mayor just hours after Peralez earlier this year, but is not participating in Monday’s forum because she is not a Democrat. Progressive Jonathan Royce Esteban, a former congressional candidate, is also running but is not on the forum agenda.
Freshman councilmember and rising business star Matt Mahan has been mulling a run too, though he’s kept tight-lipped about any announcement. According to Hutchinson, Mahan turned down an invite to the forum.
“I don’t have any news to share at the moment,” Mahan told San José Spotlight.
Chavez previously served as vice mayor in a tenure marked by a handful of scandalous votes, such as a $4 million backdoor taxpayer subsidy for the San Jose Grand Prix. Chavez’s campaign for mayor in 2006 ended when she endured a trouncing by eventual winner Chuck Reed.
Impatient labor-backed officials are overwhelmingly supporting Peralez, leaving Chavez behind in endorsements if she jumps into the race.